"Vicki Huddleston said France paid $17m (£10.75m) to free hostages seized from a uranium mine in Niger in 2010. She said other European countries, including Germany, had also paid ransoms amounting to nearly $90m." And by doing so, they were paying for the jihad that the French are now trying to quell. This ridiculous and self-defeating policy is a result of their willful blindness regarding Islamic teachings on hostage-taking, jihad, and a host of other matters.
Kidnapping infidels and releasing them for ransom or killing them -- whichever is more advantageous for the Muslims -- is fully sanctioned in Islamic law: "As for the captives, the amir [ruler] has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of four possibilities: the first to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the laws of slavery regarding their sale and manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favor to them and pardon them. Allah, may he be exalted, says, 'When you encounter those [infidels] who deny [the Truth=Islam] then strike [their] necks' (Qur'an sura 47, verse 4)" — Abu’l-Hasan al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah (The Laws of Islamic Governance), trans. by Dr. Asadullah Yate, (London), Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., 1996, p. 192.
"Mali conflict: French ransom cash 'funded militants,'" from the BBC, February 8 (thanks to all who sent this in):
A former US ambassador to Mali has told the BBC that France paid ransom money to free hostages and the funds ended up bolstering Islamist groups it is now fighting.
Vicki Huddleston said France paid $17m (£10.75m) to free hostages seized from a uranium mine in Niger in 2010.
She said other European countries, including Germany, had also paid ransoms amounting to nearly $90m.
France has always denied that it pays ransoms for the release of hostages.
It is struggling to maintain order two weeks after French-led troops began an assault on Islamist militants who took over large parts of northern Mali.
On Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up near a group of soldiers in the northern town of Gao, injuring one of them, in an attack claimed by an al-Qaeda offshoot.
Meanwhile, army infighting in the capital left one person dead and five injured when heavily-armed regular soldiers clashed with elite "Red Beret" paratroopers at their base in the capital Bamako.
Ms Huddleston said the hostages kidnapped at the Niger mine in 2010 were only released because money had changed hands.
"All the European countries who paid ransoms have denied that they paid ransoms and you know perhaps they can deny it because it's gone indirectly through various channels in the Malian government," she told the BBC's Newshour programme.
"When I was in Mali I actually knew, he was the Governor of Gao, who's now deceased, and he was one of the negotiators with the AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb)."
Al-Qaeda branches, she added, are "not releasing the Western hostages out of the goodness of their hearts"....
No kidding, really?